Who Is Jeffree Star? An Introduction To The Makeup Maven

Even if you’re a stranger to makeup, there’s still a good chance you’ve heard of Jeffree Star: an internet beauty guru with over 15 million subscribers on YouTube. If not for his cosmetics line or his music, perhaps for his numerous online feuds with celebrities and other beauty influencers. I find that he’s one of the most outspoken and fascinating people on the web today.

As far as internet celebrities go, he’s a pioneer, having gotten his start on MySpace back in the mid 00s. At one point, Jeffree was the most followed person on the platform, which led him to launch a music career, eventually signing with Akon under Konvict Muzik. He was dubbed “the next Lady Gaga”.

Despite the success and the hype, Jeffree suddenly left the music industry and severed ties with Akon (who was facing his own legal issues at the time) embarking on a bit of a hiatus from the spotlight.

In 2014, Jeffree founded his own makeup company, Jeffree Star Cosmetics and used his preexisting internet fame and YouTube channel to promote it and reinvent himself in the beauty industry. In 2018, Forbes Magazine named Jeffree the 5th highest paid YouTuber, with his channel earning above $18 million in one year. Today his net worth is over $50 million.

Jeffree has proven himself to be a prolific businessperson, but what I love most about him is his creativity. Jeffree is a master of marketing and coming up with innovative ways to sell his products. When it comes to Jeffree Star Cosmetics, you’re not just getting a box of makeup, you’re getting an experience; a piece of art. But who is Jeffree Star behind all that?

Beginnings

Jeffree Star grew up in Orange County, California and was born Jeffrey Lynn Steininger Jr. His father committed suicide when he was just six years old, which left his mother alone to raise him. As a kid, Jeffree already began experimenting with his mother’s makeup.

In junior high, he managed to convince his mother to let him wear makeup to school. After high school, Jeffree moved to Los Angeles where he worked as a makeup artist and model and used a fake ID to get into high end Hollywood clubs. It was there that celebrities took notice of Jeffree and began hiring him to do their makeup privately.

Around this time, MySpace became a major thing and Jeffree began to use it to propel his music career forward and also to ignite a social commentary about men wearing makeup. His confidence and awareness of self-image at that time already began to attract people into his world.

Androgynous

In 2009, Jeffree announced publicly that he identifies as Androgynous. He told Out Magazine in an interview: “I think everyone doesn’t know what Jeffree Star is — like are you a man, are you a girl? What are you trying to be? And at the end of the day I’m just all about pro-expression.”

View this post on Instagram

🖤

A post shared by Jeffree Star (@jeffreestar) on

Although men wearing makeup is not an uncommon thing today, during the MySpace days Jeffree was basically alone out there. He was certainly one of the most high profile men wearing makeup at the time and this brought him a lot of attention- both good and bad.

When people achieve the level of success that Jeffree has now, it’s easy to forget that things weren’t always shiny and glamorous for that person. Back in the day, Jeffree received a lot of hate for wearing makeup and appearing androgynous and still does to this day.

Drudging Up The Past

I don’t want to spend too much time on this topic, but I do feel it’s important to mention it for one reason. As more and more people gravitated towards Jeffree on account of his successful businesses and his charismatic personality, things from his past began to surface that he was not so proud of.

One of those things had to do with a satirical video that Jeffree made well over a decade ago, in which he made some racist comments that he has since apologised for. He did so by posting a video on his YouTube channel discussing ad nauseam how he condemns those remarks and how they don’t represent his views today at all.

According to Jeffree, that time in his life was an extremely low point. He was suffering from depression, anger and anxiety all caused by being a visible, outspoken, androgynous and makeup-wearing man in an age of nonacceptance.

He goes on to reveal how much backlash he was receiving at that time for just simply existing; from strangers degrading him by using words like ‘faggot’ and ‘freak’ to spitting on him. He states that although it’s gotten much better since then, he still receives hate regularly from strangers telling him to kill himself.

I think it’s vital to realize here that although racism is never justified, to me it makes sense why a person who feels disenfranchised might, during a low point, try to degrade someone else, especially someone who also belongs to an underprivileged minority group – it’s an “easy” target.

Which brings me to the reason that I brought this up: If you’re being hated on all the time, it must be incredibly challenging to not reciprocate that hate. Ultimately yes, you have to hold an individual responsible for their own actions, but if we as a society don’t look at the bigger picture and try to understand where animosity and hatred come from, we won’t make any progress.

Jeffree Star Cosmetics

Jeffree’s eponymous cosmetics line has blossomed into one of the pillars of the beauty industry. His eye shadow palettes are brimming with super pigmented and bright colours yet interspersed with many wearable and neutral tones. On top of those, he’s got highlighters, lip gloss, concealer, to name a few and of course his signature hand mirrors that he uses in the intro of every one of his YouTube videos-” Hi, how are ya?”

In November, Jeffree will release a much anticipated collab with fellow YouTuber and friend Shane Dawson. The Conspiracy Palette is set to drop on November 1st and is being preceded by a weekly docu-series made by Shane and released on his YouTube channel.

I really didn’t touch on Jeffree and Shane’s friendship much yet, but it’s important to mention in the story of Jeffree Star. About a year ago, Shane released a documentary entitled, “The Secret World of Jeffree Star” which went extremely viral, currently having over 44 million views. This documentary has been pivotal for Jeffree since his controversial reputation has always preceded him. This was really the first moment where people were able to see and fall in love with another side of him.

Jeffree’s World

The new series entitled “The Beautiful World of Jeffree Star” is already underway with an installment having been released every Friday for the last two weeks. In this series, Jeffree invites Shane, who has become one of his closest friends, to sit at the table of Jeffree Star Cosmetics and develop his very own makeup palette in an exclusive partnership with Morphe Cosmetics.

The hype around Shane and Jeffree’s palette is really insane and for good reason. They’re both super creative people, but the way Jeffree has managed pull out Shane’s particular talent for branding and creating a palette is quite genius. That combined with Shane’s unique cinematographic perspective and sense of humour makes for some remarkable content. If you haven’t already, I would seriously recommend checking out this series.

So that’s my intro in the world of Jeffree Star. Let me know down in the comments below what you think of the polarizing makeup mogul and whether or not you’ll be buying the new Jeffree x Shane Conspiracy palette.

12 thoughts on “Who Is Jeffree Star? An Introduction To The Makeup Maven

  1. Sadly, I’ve never heard of Jeffree Star before now. That’s probably because I’m not into makeup or don’t follow YouTube celebrities.

    Thank you so much for the introduction! The tattoos and makeup are amazingly done. I’m going to go watch some of the videos now and I’ll be keeping my eye out for the new palette.

    1. Hi Pamela,

      I’m ecstatic to hear that you’ll be keeping an eye out for the new palette even though you’re not that into makeup! Who knows, it could end up being a great gift for someone you know!
      I’m glad you appreciate Jeffree’s tattoos and makeup as much as I do. A lot of the tattoos were done by the famous tattoo artist named Kat Von D., maybe you’ve heard of her? If not, I’d say she’d be worth checking out – if you’re a fan of body art!
      Thanks for your comment!

  2. First of all I had no idea who Jeffree Star was! This was a great blog post telling us about him. His makeup looks really fun! Next time I’m in a makeup store I’m going to be on the lookout for his products!

    1. Hi Anna,

      I’m glad I was able to be the one to introduce you to Jeffree! Like I said, his products really are a full experience, not just any old products. They’re definitely worth checking out! Thanks for your feedback!

  3. I actually did not know who Jeffree Star was until a few days ago. I saw a video my wife was watching by Shane Dawson I think it was. I like the backstory he has based off this article. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Wow! Every now and then I stumble upon a page that completely throws me – in a good way!

    I’d never heard of Jeffree before, but I’m not sure why that was. I spend far too much time playing online and watching youtube.

    What a fantastic character Jeffree is – I love the message about being yourself, and going for what you believe in.

    Jeffree did that even though there was a lot of hate in the early days. I’m sure that’s made the world a better place for all the make-up loving men out there.

    Jeffree is so inspirational. Thanks again for telling us all.

    1. Hi Judy,

      It is a bit surprising that you hadn’t come across Jeffree yet since you spend a lot of time on YouTube, but I’m glad I could be the one to introduce you! Thanks so much for your feedback!

  5. I have a friend who is so into makeup that I am going to pass your sight onto her and I bet she becomes your biggest fan.

  6. Although wearing makeup is not “my cup of tea” (the closest thing I’ve ever come to in wearing makeup was in hell week in a fraternity in college when we were forced to wear makeup and dresses), I enjoyed reading about Jeffrey Star, who is obviously very talented and successful, which I totally respect! Thanks for sharing.

    1. It’s great to hear that even though it’s not your cup of tea, you still respect people like Jeffree Star! We need more guys like you in the world!
      All the best,

      Jesse

Leave a Reply to Lori Marick Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *